Sunday, July 29, 2007

Pure infuriation...

I HATE water supply lines. I HATE THEM.

Went and purchased a new kitchen faucet yesterday...thought, "Oh, this shouldn't be too bad to replace it." Having replaced three faucets in the past two years, I figured it would take a few hours and I'd be done. Silly, silly, stupid me.

First, I found out the idiot PO didn't have shutoff valves put under the sink. So I had to shut off the supply to the entire back of the house. Only one bathroom was working, the kitchen was out, the laundry room, the outside spigot. All shut off.
After fighting the old faucet to get it out, which took at least 30 minutes and practically breaking it apart to get it out, I discovered that the new faucet's supply lines didn't go down far enough to accommodate the hoses. They fell about a 1/2-inch short. Fury building at this stage.

I had somewhere to go in the evening, so I said, "All right, screw this, I'll go buy shutoff valves tomorrow morning, and that will make up the 1/2-inch difference easy enough.

Today, I go to get the valves, and I can't find any that bridge the gap between the copper pipe fitting and the supply hose. Again, the 40,000 different measurements possible on these f-ing things baffled me and confused me. So, I think I have it right after deciding to just buy new hoses to match the shutoff I believe is right, making sure the top of the hose matches the faucet male connection. So, after about 20 minutes of checking, I get home and find out that I got the wrong size input--there's a fitting on the end of the pipe. Fury exploding at this stage. I decide to pull the fitting off and take it BACK to Home Depot and find a NEW FITTING...I figure out that I bought a 1/2-inch shutoff valve--so, I need a fitting that's 1/2-inch on both sides (pipe and shutoff side). I hunt for the brass fittings, which aren't in the same aisle as ANYTHING else similar, buy them and leave. Finally, the faucet is on and working (so far)'s a pic. Note, we got the black's just not on the Web site. It's simpler and easier to use, and the water flow out of it is much better than it was before. Also, I bought the new hardware for the china cabinet and installed it...even that was not without it's problems. I bought a Mission-style bar pull and a backing plate (to cover the fact that there were two holes from the previous hardware). They're pretty, and there's pictures below. Anyway, this was basic length on the screw included, and I kind of assumed they'd give you enough length to go through the door AND the backing plate (they were sold separately, but still)...but they didn't. So, thankfully I discovered this before going back to Home Depot, so I could buy some longer machine screws in that trip as well. They look sharp...

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Fridge is in, cabinet hardware next??

Got the fridge earlier today. Apparently, the delivery men had a better time bringing the thing in through the front door, rather than going out the back. Ah well...that's OK. So it's in place, but I don't feel like taking a picture of it right now, so you'll all just have to wait. :)

Hopefully the window guy will call us tomorrow to schedule for next week. We gotta get these windows redone before we commit the money elsewhere. After the windows are restored and repaired, we'll probably ease into other projects. I still have to buy some new hardware for the china cabinet. I'm looking a set of Mission style knobs and backing plates, or possibly Mission style backing plates with bar pulls. Probably will go with the knobs and plates (to cover the double holes from the current hardware). But I have yet to measure to see if the plates will fit. That's kinda important, I know. But, I have to make this interesting for you all to read, don't I? :)
Anyway, that's enough for now...more as events warrant.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Ah, another [insert last name here] project...

Well, the "not so old" fridge is gone. But not without a brother and brother-in-law came over to help me wheel out the fridge to the garage. Thought it would be easy...but as the title says, it was another [my last name here] project. Welcome to my world. :)

We made, literally, five attempts to get the thing out the door. First, we had to take off the doors. Then, the hinges got in the way on the bottom. Then, the water supply hose in the back got in the way. Then, finally, some random bolts on the bottom of the fridge wouldn't let us through. Finally, we got it out the door.

I half joked that the deck would collapse under us once the fridge was on it. Part of me was surprised it didn't.

I apologize for no fun pictures of us struggling with the fridge...I still have to teach Gina to grab the camera rather than sit and worry about us scratching or damaging this, that or the other thing. Instead, here's a couple pictures of the blank spot where the fridge was and where the new fridge will go.

I hope the guys delivering the fridge tomorrow have an easier time of it, especially since I won't be here to help. I also hope they don't screw anything up.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Garden happenings...

Bought one new flower today, but I had to weed, and I also bought some mulch to try to keep the weeds at bay. In all the gardening in Bolingbrook that I did, I never used mulch. Partially because, well, if I did, I'd have gone broke for all the mulch I'd have had to buy. :)

Anyway, check out the photos...the plants are doing really well...although I need to next year give the Butterfly Bush better support from the start, rather than halfway through the summer, when the thing has flopped over already. But it has drawn butterflies to the garden, as it advertises. :)

The mulch was on sale at Menard's, so I grabbed three big ol' bags of it for $1.99 each. Good ol' Menard's. I have more than enough mulch now, since I used only 1.5 bags of it for this little bitty garden.

So yeah, they say mulch does a good job of keeping weeds at bay, so we'll see how it goes. The frightening thing, which I didn't notice until I snapped these pictures? You can tell just how old the fence is compared to the color of the fresh mulch next to it. Hopefully that fence will be replaced next year...hopefully.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Thank you, HCBA...

...because of you, I no longer have to deal with a side-by-side fridge.

Today, we went and bought ourselves a new fridge with the HCBA's appliance voucher. Here's a picture, and a link to the site. It's a really nice fridge, obviously. We had a little money saved up too, so we were able to splurge. Thanks to all of you who gave us any kind of monetary gift for our housewarming--you can see where the money went! :) Seriously, though, I'm sure I thanked you, but thank you again. We get our beautiful new fridge on Thursday.

Now, we need to do something with the former fridge. You see, it's a really nice fridge, and it isn't that old, I don't believe. It works perfectly fine...for someone who wants a side-by-side. I CANNOT live with it. Personal preference, of course. So, we're not even putting it in the basement to replace the ancient top-freezer fridge down there. What's the point? If it's going to be a storage-only kind of fridge, what could we truly store in a side-by-side, really? Sheet cake? NO. Frozen pizza? NO. Leftover pizza? DEFINITELY NO. So screw it. I think we'll just clean it out a little more (it was cleaned when we moved in) and sell it...if I can get a few hundred bucks for a nice fridge (did I mention it has a wood facing on match cabinetry?), then that's fine with me.

So if anyone is interested here and can wait a little bit, please let me'll have to pick it up yourself, sorry...but it's a good fridge (for those who can deal with side-by-sides).

Otherwise, I've spent much of the down time this weekend researching stuff for my aquarium...more than doing house stuff, that is. Although, in an indirect way, that is house stuff, since it'll lead to the 125-gallon tank being taken care of sooner than later. Anyway, for those who like pictures, here's one of my 38-gallon tank, for which I just bought a new, brighter light fixture (since all the plants except for the really tall one on the left are live plants).
So that's about it for now. More as further events warrant, of course. :) Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

New roof pic...finally...

Got around to getting the pics off the camera yesterday...only found one of the roof with its new color. You can compare...
Old roof:

New roof:

Really, I'm still not sold on the color, but oh well.

More soon.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

New addition...

Well, we got a nice china cabinet today, virture of our friends Kim and Nick M., who are (sadly) moving to Pennsylvania...good for them, sad for us, of course. :)

But they were kind enough to sell us this nice china cabinet, which gives us a good centerpiece to work with in the dining room. We're going to change out the hardware though, and I was thinking of putting the little glass knobs on it. But it has two holes for the handle currently. That said, I'm not 100 percent sold on the glass knobs idea either. So we'll see. I'm a big fan of those glass knobs, and actually would like to retrofit the interior doors with glass doorknobs too SOMEDAY. My parents STILL have their glass doorknobs and their built-in china cabinet has glass knobs, but on the drawers, so it's a bit of nostalgia for me. This cabinet doesn't have drawers, just doors. So it may not work so well (in my own personal opinion).

Anyway, any suggestions are welcome for filling and covering the holes easily if I go with a one-hole set of hardware (and well enough that it camouflages well)? I'd appreciate the pointer(s) here.

Other than that, I'm just waiting for the window repair guy to give me a call back so I can set up an appointment. Oh yeah, and, knock on wood...the roof has held up without a leak to speak of during last night's storms (finally, some rain!). Not that I was concerned, but you know how it goes...wanted to be sure.

Monday, July 16, 2007

A lull in the action...

Well, we sent off the final payment to the roofer. Again, if you're in Chicagoland and need a roofer, please email me privately and I'll give you the info. Or, maybe if I'm feeling generous, I'll post a link to their site here.

Otherwise, let's see...I've been meaning to call the window repairman, but work has been too busy lately. Need to schedule that soon though. I've been keeping busy most evenings working on my fish tank (the up-and-running 38-gallon, not the inherited 125-gallon, which is still empty and a project for the future). I'm having some trouble with some of the fish, so I've had to try to figure out what's wrong. It hasn't been easy...and I'm not sure I have it figured out. But, this is not a fish blog, it's a house blog.

Tomorrow, we pick up the china cabinet we're buying from a friend of ours. It will look good in the dining room (I'm guessing!). We've found a dining room set (wood) that we'd like, but we're hesitant about spending the money. We'll see...

My garden in back is doing nicely...I'll have to take a picture of it. Lots of new growth since the last photos, and the butterfly bush is attracting butterflies...I've seen one Monarch the last couple of days, and a few white butterflies and a few other brown with white and orange spots. We also saw a big yellow one a couple days back, but that was out in front of the house.

And, we saw two BATS, believe it or not! So freakin' cool...they were flying around in front over the street catching bugs at twilight the other day. I didn't think there was any way I'd see bats in the city nowadays! Really them bugs, yeah!

So we have a veritable wild kingdom around here, it seems. :) I'll try to nab some photos tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Garden planning...

I found a cool free's very limited and pretty basic, but that's kind of what I want, at least to try. It's Anyway, I was putzing around on it and decided to try to come up with some ideas, based on a gardening magazine I bought, for the area next to our garage, which currently has grass growing in it (and in some spots dying in it). This is probably an idea for next year, but here's what I came up with. Two ideas...I'm not sold on one over the other, but they're pretty similar anyway...I'll have to visualize it better outside. I used our plat of survey to get the dimensions too, so I'm not entirely sure they're "perfect" dimensions or anything.

Garden idea #1The large line at the bottom is the garage wall. The two lines at the left and top are the six-foot wood privacy fence. The white lines on the right represent a pergola that I would probably build (depending on what I plant over there). The "pond" is really a birdbath (housewarming gift--thanks!) that I'm going to mount on a pedestal that I'm going to make out of the leftover brick laying in piles in parts of the yard that matches the house side brick and will give it a really rustic look. As for the plants, it doesn't matter, because my mind will probably change a hundred times. As you can see in Option #1, everything is bunched to one side...makes for a very clean, simple layout full of flowers and foliage. In this option, I'd probably leave lawn in the white space on the ground, but maybe not.

Garden idea #2

In this option, there's a little more potential for it to be a "refuge," since you can tuck yourself away. I would probably use stones and groundcover in the white space on this one, only because it's more of a weaving path that might be tougher to mow with lawn there. In this one, the thought also is that you could sit on the bench and the birds might still use the birdbath, since it's further away and behind some potentially taller plants. Also, you wouldn't be facing the western sun--it would be at your back, behind the fence. Furthermore, the garden "ends" on the right with the option of someday curving it around to the right and down, around the corner of the garage there (although the hot tub is currently in the way).

Both of these options are probably projects for next year, what with money going into the roof and the windows this year. But, it helps to have a plan, or at least a close idea, of what to do. And this is the best plan I've ever had as far as gardening has gone. Usually, it's just buy something I like and stick it in the ground where I have space.

Friday, July 6, 2007

We're back...and, oh yeah, we gotta fix that...

Just got back a few hours ago from our "first anniversary vacation" to the Bay Area...was definitely relaxing and nice. Didn't have to think about anything back here...until we got back and realized that, oh yeah, we still have issues to sort out. :)

One of the coolest things, though, about leaving on vacation for a week or so, is coming back to see how much your garden can change in that time period. It's awesome. My garden (in need of some weeding, now, however) looks pretty solid. I've got some decent-sized tomatoes growing on the one tomato plant I have, and several of my flowers have bloomed and look nice. So, that's always fun.

Actually, while out in California, I picked up my first-ever copy of "American Bungalow" magazine...mostly because it featured Berwyn, Ill., which is home to hundreds of Chicago-style bungalows, and I was curious about the magazine. I also snagged a gardening magazine, for some ideas. Got a couple good ones from that. Also got a few great ideas for furniture from the ads in the bungalow mag. Those would be long-term, obviously...I have too much to work on right now other than building furniture (which I know I could probably do, with the right tools, of course!).

Anyway, just wanted to let you all know that we're back in the saddle...I'm (somehow) going to pick up our "new" china cabinet, a VERY nice piece that my friends are selling to me at a great price, as they are (sadly) moving out of state and don't want to move it. I don't blame them. :) Of course, someday, I'll want a vintage sideboard (I know EXACTLY what I want) in the dining room, but for now, this will work very well. I'll post pics once I get them.